Disturbing trends in philosophy

INTERVIEWER: Do you find any trends in philosophy disconcerting?

T. WILLIAMSON: I find the current atmosphere of self-righteous moralizing and vindictive internet mobs in the discipline deeply disturbing (whether the mob is on the left or the right). Such attitudes easily produce injustice and cruelty to individuals and unwise and counter-productive policy-making. The moralizing atmosphere spreads into philosophical theorizing itself, lowering standards of argument and evidence. As moral stakes rise, epistemic standards fall: “This is too important for quibbling.” Philosophers compete with each other in the virtue stakes. There are inevitably pressures to say things because saying them is politically convenient, rather than because you know them to be true. There are even greater pressures to not say things because saying them is politically inconvenient, or even a career-killer. Philosophers don’t have the best track record of resisting such pressures.

Capitol Art Lofts

Truck Ten Again

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When Grandpa Charlie died in eighty-nine, he left my father some of his favorite things, including his toolbox and his pickup, which he called TRUCK 10.  Dad adopted TRUCK 10 as his C.B. handle, and that’s how I became Truck Ten Again.